[GW2] Hidden Mechanics: Community and Death Scaling

A Guild Wars 2 Reddit user took it upon themselves to memory-hack Guild Wars 2 to find out what is up with scaling and player death. It seems that the Guild Wars 2 client is actually sent the numbers for the enemy’s health, but those numbers are kept hidden for good reason.

Guild Wars 2 is all about inclusivity, and seeing a number can have a detrimental effect. When a player runs up to hit a mob to help another player this should be a good transaction even if the mob’s health goes up bit. Seeing the mob’s health go up in number is more off-putting than noticing the per-player DPS affects a smaller portion of the over all health as the health bar goes down.

However, there is a secret mechanic, which should not be secret. Or, it should have been kept secret, but now it’s not. How does dying affect scaling?

Most players can understand that events scale based on activity of fellow players. The easiest and most apparent way to see this is to play in an event where items need to be turned in. I’ve noticed that as a solo event, ArenaNet really likes to keep the number around 10 as chunks of 1/10ths go up for each thing turned in. If another player joins in the event, the player should easily notice that the chunk-per-turn-in is less. A good example is the beetle slaughter in Dry Top.

The same goes for enemy health to some hidden degree, especially boss health. What Wethospu_ did was put up a simple UI element that read targeted enemy health. The results were that, in part, dying kept a boss scaled up for at least 15 minutes if the dead player’s corpse stayed in the event area. Waypointing out of the event area was an instantaneous downscale.

For all my years of playing Guild Wars 2, the best I had guessed was that after a player died the event would re-adjust after a minute or less. How wrong was I?

This is upsetting to me particularly because Guild Wars 2 is so inclusive. I can imagine a punishment for the dead, but not to this degree. Players are going to be righteously screaming for the dead to go away. The mechanics reinforce their yelling at dead players to get gone.

It’s double-punishment. No longer is it reasonable for a dead player to stay and cheer on the event, or to sit on the edge of their seat praying for a success. They died, which sucks, and now their inclusion is making it worse for all the players still trying to succeed.

It gets even worse because the most evidence the community has is from “illegal” testing. ArenaNet has only hinted, buried in the forums and elsewhere, at the event’s ability to re-adjust on death and the benefit of waypointing. What if this data is wrong? How is the community to know?

I think generally players have been trained to lay there dead so they can be resurrected. Sure, when it’s a complete wipe and no one is moving for miles, then it is time to waypoint. However, time and time again in the core game, players seem to be taught to hang around. This is especially true where shiny lootable bodies exist just out of reach (since dead). Everybody knows that one shiny body you waypoint away from is a precursor.

What I feel ArenaNet needs is a transparent mechanic. It could be that, regardless of waypointing or not, a dead player will upscale an event for 15-seconds. After that duration the event will downscale regardless if the player’s corpse remains or has waypointed. There should not be a special rule for waypointing. A death is a death.

This mechanic can be taught on the death screen where everything becomes a nice shade of gray. “Affecting the world for 15 seconds” countdown or the like. I’m sure better mechanics could be considered.

Still, I feel we are heading towards a not so good path where players are going to get more acidic when people die. If the open world is even more difficult in Heart of Thorns player are going to want every edge, inclusivity be damned.

“You are ruining my enjoyment and making things harder with your corpse!”

“Come rez me, bro”


10 thoughts on “[GW2] Hidden Mechanics: Community and Death Scaling”

  1. It would be nice to have a auto-rez counter. Something similar to other games. In short, if you are dead you can be revived by:

    1. Another player
    2. Lying dead for X-minutes (with a countdown visible to the player).

    You need a punishment for dying — or better phrased, teams need a reward for being good. But in the years since its release, it’s clear to me that players don’t like to waypoint — even if taking another player’s time to revive would be detrimental to the overall result.

    With a auto-revive counter, at least the living members of your “team” aren’t punished for the remainder of the event… just for X-minutes ;)

    1. I’ve found, even in Vinewrath, it seems that people don’t mind rez’ing IF there is time to do so, such as after a win or fail to a vinewrath champ. Heck, I’ve seen people bullishly try and rez during vinewrath champ fights… rez dead people (not just downed). So the inclusivity and happy community feeling is there to help rez people.

  2. Honestly, it’s not exclusivity to ask people to waypoint. You waypoint, AND then come immediately BACK, is the unsaid implication. Hooray, you’re alive, you’re back to help everybody in far less time than it would take someone to rez you from plain dead, saving them from endangering themselves to scrape you off the floor. It’s civil behavior.

    The game is already inclusive in that you could pretty much waypoint away, never come back but still get the rewards for the event as long as you hang around the same map. Some people would call that leeching, to tag once and run away, but hey, it hurts the group less to do that.

    What is selfish is the idea of laying there dead to “cheer people on” and let them do all the work while treating the fight as a spectator sport.

    The only criticism I have for this is because it’s not made obvious, players can get into a conflict over what they believe, and it enables a form of trolling via nonparticipation.

    1. It’s not “immediate”. That’s the thing. If 5 players rez a dead player the time cost doesn’t even compare. It definitely is not “far less time” for Vinewrath, at least, especially if the labyrinth waypoint isn’t open. The NPC’s also can help in rezzing there.

      Now if a player is dead at the colocal queen where I can physically see the waypoint, that’s one thing. A player can “immediately” join back in the fray as soon as they waypoint. However, for much of the time it is an actual evacuation/separation from the event, not giving an immediate comeback.

      1. You’re assuming those 5 players can manage to rez without getting smited with something from the boss and getting downed in return, which is somewhat unlikely in the case of the Vinewrath or Breach bosses, which pulse hard hitting attacks frequently.

        Part of the strategy of the Silverwastes is to make sure the Labyrinth waypoint is open. It can be done solo, and often, when I go there, there’s another player or three also getting it set up as well. It can be done in the two minutes pre-Vinewrath prep time.

        From the Labyrinth waypoint, it is less than half a minute run with swiftness.

        I have personally made it back into the Vinewrath multiple times, to see the same dead players sitting there while I was alive, then dead, then away, then back again fighting. They had oodles of time.

        But basically, I think we have a disagreement in expectations of what social, civil behavior consists of. Is it more civil to expect that everyone rez each other and fight or fail together as a group, clustered in the same area and never leaving or splitting up, or is it more civil to expect that each player is an independently operating unit coming together for a purpose and splitting apart as necessary?

        Don’t think there’s a right answer. Think it’s situational and can be skewed either way by an encounter’s design.

        If you permanently lose power/dps/flexibility/ways to defeat a boss by waypointing, people will try to rez each other (eg. Scarlet’s hologram), assuming there is enough breathing room / downtime to do so (otherwise, they just start blaming weaker players, as in the marionette, just no breathing room to rez the dead, only the downed.)

        If a waypoint is conveniently near enough, and there isn’t that much space to rez without getting whacked in the face because you’re forced to stay stationary, then folks are going to ask dead people to move away and come back.

        In either case, the rewards for live or dead players are still entirely the same, which is already as egalitarian as can be.

  3. Are you factoring in that reviving someone is much slower when you’re in combat? (I measured 2.5x slower reviving NPCs in a very small experiment.)

    If it takes 20 seconds to revive someone normally, it takes 50 seconds to revive them when you’re in combat. I clocked 1:07 running back from from Labyrinth waypoint to the middle lane, and with one reviver you’re spending 100 person-seconds to get revived plus however long you spent lying on the ground not getting revived. More revivers does do better, though- if five people revive you in 10 seconds you’re only spending 60 person-seconds.

    Maybe the guidance should be to not res the dead unless you’re helping someone who already is. Lying around being rezzed and running back to an event for a minute plus are both boring, they’re just different kinds of boring. Some of the dispute is just which boring you prefer.

  4. I haven’t seen the reddit thread, but what you posted makes perfect sense for one reason: Boss scaling is tied to players getting loot. The event stays scales for -5 minutes so that if the person gets revived afterward, they can get loot. If they waypoint away, they still get event credit for what they assisted with, but they forfeit all loot.

    With the cat out of the bag, I’m curious as to what ANet will do. I agree this is something that never should have been known for sure.

  5. Maybe the change required is for the game to auto-waypoint a dead player that lies there dead for more than sixty seconds. This wouldn’t apply to downed players of course.

  6. I think it’s funny that yet another piece of evidence to the design flaws of this dev team is put out there and yet once again we have defenders of their practices of making it ridiculously hard against the player because they listened to the 1% is it any wonder why the max number of players they have for any one server is 900?

Comments are closed.